Last Night Of The Proms reworking of Jerusalem sparks backlash

Last Night Of The Proms viewers were left less than impressed by the revamped version of Jerusalem.

The reworked piece of Sir Hubert Parry’s 1916 hymn sparked uproar yesterday, with its composer choosing to dial down its ‘patriotic nature’ for a more ‘reflective’ piece.

Composer Errollyn Wallen was called upon by the BBC to give the classic a new lease of life and noted that her edition was ‘radically different in the first half’.

The piece was sung by the South African soprano Golda Schultz.

Viewers, sadly, were not impressed with the rendition of Jerusalem and slammed it on social media.

‘What a mangled abomination the new version of Jerusalem is,’ blasted one viewer on Twitter. ‘Totally unenjoyable and I feel done deliberately to upset all the right thinking people.’

Echoing a similar sentiment, another posted: ‘Christ on a bike. I don’t think I’ve ever heard as big an assassination of Jerusalem as what I’m witnessing right now on Last Night of the Proms.’

Elsewhere on the programme, traditional songs Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory were sung after weeks of controversy over the event.

The BBC previously said the pieces would be performed without lyrics but executed a U-turn following heated debate over the decision.

A reduced orchestra of 65 instead of the usual 300 performed live at the Royal Albert Hall – but without an audience due to coronavirus restrictions – with the singers placed in the stalls to ensure social distancing.

‘Our orchestra, singers and some very special guests are standing by for an evening of classical treats, show songs and all your traditional favourites,’ host Katie Derham said as she introduced the programme.

The original plan would have seen the traditional pieces, seen by some as controversial because of their perceived ties to imperialism, performed without lyrics.

Some of the lyrics deemed controversial in the songs include the Rule, Britannia! lines: ‘Britons never, never, never shall be slaves’, and: ‘The nations, not so blest as thee / Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall / While thou shalt flourish great and free: The dread and envy of them all.’

Last Night Of The Proms is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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